We spend most of our lives ascribing value to everything around us, literally and figuratively.
Literally speaking, it's how our economy functions. Figuratively speaking, it's how we establish and maintain relationships, pick our hobbies and decide whether to order that pizza or go for a jog and eat a salad instead.
So why should your fantasy football trades be any different?
Sure, you could wing it during your next trade, hoping your instincts and opinions on players will help you get optimal value in your deal. Or, you could use the values I've ascribed to the top 100 players in fantasy football to ensure you get the best return possible.
Don't go into your trade blind, folks—I'm here to help.
Notes: The top 100 players were determined by using the current ESPN standard-scoring league rankings, calculating each player's value over bench player (VOBP for short) and by projecting a player's value the rest of the season.
VOBP was calculated by determining how many additional (or fewer) points per week a player scored compared to the best bench player at his position in 10-team leagues (No. 11 quarterback and tight end; No. 26 running back and wide receiver, taking the flex into account).
Any player not listed has a trade value of one. Remember, this is only a guide—your team needs and areas of strength should always inform any potential trades.
Yes, I think Peyton Manning is the most valuable player in all of fantasy. For starters, he has the most fantasy points of any player thus far this season. Furthermore, while I think his production will inevitably dip slightly, I still think he could seriously challenge Tom Brady's NFL-record 50 touchdown passes in 2007.
And he has the highest VOBP (13.8 more fantasy points per week than the best bench players in 10-team leagues, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III, tied with 16.8 points per week) in all of football, meaning he's more valuable at his position thus far than any other player in the league at his position.
Add it all up, and Manning is currently the most valuable trade asset in fantasy football.
Despite strong starts to the season, I'm still hesitant to overvalue Philip Rivers or Michael Vick. Of course, if Rivers keeps up his current pace (22 points per week), his trade value will increase, but I haven't forgotten his disappointing 2012 season just yet. Meanwhile, Vick remains a huge injury risk.
As you can see, I think there's a huge difference between the top 14 quarterbacks in fantasy this year and the rest of the field. Don't overpay for a quarterback in a trade if you don't have one of the top options.
Running Back Notes
I don't think there are too many surprises here. Adrian Peterson continues to be one of the most valuable players in all of fantasy, while strong starts from Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy shoot them near the top of my trade-value list.
As you can see, both Ray Rice and C.J. Spiller have seen their trade values take a hit, though I still think each player will recover. I'm more hesitant on David Wilson, who only has a trade value of five at the moment, while Stevan Ridley isn't even on the list after being a second- or third-round pick in most leagues.
Wide Receiver Notes
Yes, I know by his standards Calvin Johnson has started slowly, but given that he's finished atop the wide receiver rankings the past two seasons, I think it's safe to assume he'll produce huge fantasy numbers for owners this season. Ditto for A.J. Green, who will get back on track for fantasy owners disappointed by his past three weeks.
Victor Cruz remains the only safe fantasy option on the New York Giants, reflected by his high trade value, while you can see I value Jordy Nelson ever-so-slightly over Randall Cobb in Green Bay. Vincent Jackson's value takes a hit given his recent injury and the unknowns that come with his new quarterback, rookie Mike Glennon, while Antonio Brown's recent play shoots him up the list.
Roddy White's early-season injury struggles have made him a great buy-low candidate, as he should see his numbers go up as he continues to get healthy.
Tight End Notes
I anticipate that people will question how I could label Jimmy Graham as the seventh-most-valuable player in all of fantasy football this season, so I'll defend that decision in some depth.
First of all, after four weeks Graham has more fantasy points than every wide receiver, every running back and all but four quarterbacks. That's insane.
Not only that, but he has the second-highest VOBP (+12.3) in all of football, trailing only Manning. People have the tendency to undervalue tight ends, but you still have to start one each week, and starting Graham means you're getting more value at that position than any other player at any other position offers outside of Manning.
I expect his production to come back to earth a bit. After all, he's on pace for 1,832 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. But his production won't dramatically regress, and he's fully capable of reaching 1,400 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
Jordan Cameron is the second-most-valuable tight end in fantasy. He's a beast, folks, and tight ends generally keep their value even with poor quarterbacks (not that Brian Hoyer has been particularly poor) since they can act as security blankets.
Based on his recent injury struggles, I view Rob Gronkowski as slightly less valuable than Cameron at the moment, but even without playing yet this season, he's the third-most-valuable tight end for fantasy owners moving forward. Remember, he has 38 touchdowns in 43 career games—that's insane.
Along with Rivers, Antonio Gates' value continues to climb. If you think he'll continue this pace, go out and get him now at a reasonable value. If you think he'll regress or struggle with injuries, trade him immediately while his value is as high as it's been in quite a while.
Defense/Special Team Notes
Generally speaking, defenses are fickle and hard to trust week-to-week, so I don't rate them very highly. The Seattle Seahawks make this list because of consistency—they're the only defense to score double-digit points in all four weeks.
The Kansas City Chiefs make the list because they lead all fantasy defenses in points by a wide margin, having scored 20 or more points three times, and face a pretty easy schedule this season.
Other than that, defenses hold little value in trades in my opinion.
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